Our new WUCON!

Saturday was our first ever WUCON as in Winthrop University Comicon - and it was A HIT!

There were several fun photo opportunities. Here are my students Tianna, Ave, and Alyssa with a fun backdrop.
And here I am with Iron Man!
Our print professor, Myles Calvert set up a small screen printing set up to share blank comic book pages, ready for story-makers.
All my illustration students set up tables to sell their wares. It reminded me a bit of "Bookmarks" at the Edinburgh College of Art. My students prepared for weeks, putting together comic books, posters, postcards, earrings, stickers (lots of stickers!). I bought way more than I should, but I think some of what I bought will be collectors items someday. Keep an eye on these talented budding creators! Here's Erin:
Josh, David, and Ethan:
Kaelen (with Asher doing some shopping):
And Sarah, Maggie, and Reagan (who wore cool contact lenses):
I talked about Creating Graphic Novels and had a great turn-out with lots of questions from a very interested audience. I might have even gained two new illustration majors!
     My colleague, Prof. Jason Tselentis, also gave a panel with guest speakers Jonathan Belle, Asiah Fulmore (of Amethyst fame, and a WU alum), and Liana Kangas.
There was also a cosplay competition later in the day. I wasn't able to stay for that, but here's a sneak peek:

The keynote speaker was voice actress Tara Strong. Here's the full line-up for the day:
Honestly, there wasn't a lot of advertising that went out before the event, which goes to show how much interest there is in our area for a comicon. And now that folks know about it, and with more long-term advertising, I think next year is going to be three times as big. How fun to be on the ground floor for the inaugural year! Many thanks to Willie Bush and DSU for inviting me to be a part. I look forward to next year's WUCON!

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Oh bravo - this was a fun read! Three separated sisters pulled apart by an abusive past are reunited by the return of the tower of Avalon. With it, they rediscover each other and innate powers they use towards improving the plight of women in New Salem, a town oppressed by a righteous Mayor, who isn't quite what he seems. This is a story of female empowerment as they grow into their strengths and the ability to right wrongs, to find love that actually means something, and to spread hope. The story twines through historical events of the late 1800s, lending just enough credence to make it all feel possible and believable. It left me feeling that I too might already have the words and the ways to share in the power. Fabulous! I highly recommend this book!

Gregory Maguire's CRESS WATERCRESS

I met Gregory Maguire years ago at Kindling Words in Vermont. He is the super nice and humble creator of the New York Times Best-seller WICKED, that was turned into the award-winning Broadway musical of the same name. But he writes other stories too, of course. His latest is for the younger set, about a small rabbit named Cress. Gregory stopped by to talk about his thinking behind CRESS WATERCRESS (illustrated by David Litchfield, who I interviewed HERE). (The photos are of Gregory's writing studio.)
My new novel, CRESS WATERCRESS, seems largely to be about grief and growing up. A rabbit family who, until the story begins has lived as a standard-issue family of four (Papa, Mama, big sister, baby brother), finds they have to move from their comfortable private warren when the father rabbit disappears and is presumed dead. They have to go downmarket, as it were, and take quarters in the shabby basement flat of a derelict apartment tree. As the season changes from late spring to early summer, Cress makes new friends, crosses the line with her mother once or twice, becomes fussed, lost, found, and fussed over. She sees that she can survive.

But one of the many strategies for her own survival that thread through the story is Cress’s observation that everyone else is making things—being creative. Her mother is a weaver. Lady Agatha Cabbage dabbles in dying her own fur. The hen escaped from a local farm can’t seem to help make eggs almost without thinking about it. “You just sit there until it comes out,” says the hen placidly, on how to make things.

And in the novel’s very final page, we see CRESS turning the page—as it is—and writing herself, writing about her lost father. The story of Cress’s survival is, in secret, this story: that only in trying to tell her grief can she get to the truth. In telling is the continuity of her father’s life; in telling is the continuity of her own. Under lots of levels of disguise—adventure and humor and the great floods of feeling that threaten to swamp the young—Cress’s story is the bildungsroman of a writer. She doesn’t feel herself aiming in that direction throughout her adventures, but that is where she is headed just the same. And why we have her story to read, when it comes to that.